My guest for this episode is Erin Rasmussen. Erin has made wine in Napa and on New Zealand, where she also completed graduate studies in winemaking and viticulture at Lincoln University. She took this transnational, transcontinental wine experience and returned to her childhood home of Wisconsin, where she founded the American Wine Project in 2018.
With The American Wine Project Erin explores the American grape varieties adapted to her beautiful corner of Wisconsin. Erin is innovative, applying a natural approach to winemaking informed by her breadth of experience in other, very different wine regions, to make some very exciting wines in her cold climate.
I had such a fun time picking Erin’s brain that I forgot to have her introducer herself and the American Wine Project until the end, so this is a slightly topsy turvy conversation that covers a lot of ground with truffles of delicious insight buried throughout. Erin shares some unique findings relating to whole cluster fermentations and stem inclusion to manage both pH and tannins in American varieties of grapes. We talk about many different facets of sweet wine, including how it’s made, what its purpose is, and why we shouldn’t be prejudiced against is. She crushes my ill-informed dream of holding a Judgement of Paris for hybrids. And she shows so many reasons, both explicitly and implicitly, why American grapes are the future… and really are already the present.
I’m sure you’ll quickly be as impressed as I was with Erin’s brilliance and great sense of humor… There are as many laughs as perspective shifting ideas throughout this fun interview. Enjoy!